Album Review: A Long Way Down // Tom Odell

From the outset, the twenty-three year old invites the listener to grow old with him; a prospect that I couldn’t possibly begin to entertain mainly because of Tom Odell’s gratingly-annoying voice that becomes progressively more-so over the duration of the album.

He’s a talented pianist and guitarist, granted, but the tone to his voice doesn’t make me swoon or want to spend the rest of my life listening to him, by any stretch of an imagination. He has great fashion sense, is attractive in a dishevelled kind of way, as well as doing an admirable job of interacting with his fans on Twitter. But just because he’s an attractive or nice person doesn’t give him an automatic claim to having produced one of 2013′s best albums.

He also asks us to “tear me down” in Sirens, a request I have no problem in obliging. The lyrics to every one of the ten tracks on the album are cheesy and generic enough that they’ve managed to convince Heart FM’s listeners of Tom Odell’s talent. But really the utilisation of the same basic song structure with emotional crescendos – reminiscent of Arcade Fire or Keane – and exploitation of every cliché under the sun is uninspiring, not to mention predictable.

Not only relying on the same formula for every track, the album is extremely self-indulgent; the songs are all about how ‘small’ Tom Odell feels; how he ‘can’t pretend’; how he thinks he ‘cares’.

Newsflash: I don’t care about ‘how many tears’ you’ve shed Tom. Grab some Kleenex and be a man about it. He comes across as a whiny teenage boy as opposed to the deep and soulful musical genius I suspect he aspires to be, and it’s exhausting.

If I had any advice to give the songwriter, it would probably be to stop being such a drama queen; having claimed to be incapable of remaining in a relationship for “more than 6 months” to journalists, Tom Odell needs to be told that 10 songs about failed relationships (if we’re to put stock in his 6 month theory) suggests that he’s on his way to becoming the male equivalent of Taylor Swift.

Maybe Tom, “she got a new boyfriend/a little too soon” (and no, we’re not asking you) because of your tendency to be dull and predictable. Also, the fact your Dad complained to NME about the ranking ‘A Long Way Down’ was given seems like you really ought to stop being such a Daddy’s boy, too.

Sure, it’s cute and all. But cute is boring – especially when you times cute by neediness and factor that all by whininess (coincidentally, the mathematical formula for ‘Long Way Down’).